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Campania offers landscapes, history, culture and a gastronomic tradition that the whole world envies

A consistently mild climate, lush nature framing breathtaking landscapes, unspoilt villages and fairy-tale coastlines: this is Campania, a region that sums up centuries of cultures, between West and East, in a single Mediterranean jewel known for its unparalleled hospitality. A destination for the soul, the eyes and the palate.

  • Highlights
  • Food and Wine
  • Villages
  • Sea
  • Art & Culture
Nature
Scenic picture-postcard view of the beautiful town of Atrani at famous Amalfi Coast with Gulf of Salerno, Campania, Italy.

Atrani

Atrani: a charming, tiny village with an ancient heart Less than a kilometre from Amalfi, Atrani's geographical position makes it a strategic point for exploring the entire Amalfi Coast, of which it forms part. An ancient world in miniature, we are in the smallest Italian municipality by surface area, rich in history that attests to the passage of many peoples. The only town on the Costiera to retain the fascinating atmosphere of a fishing village in the south of Italy, Atrani is distinguished by its handful of small houses that cluster on the hillside from the beach. An inspiring place, then and now The village of Atrani is of Roman origin, at which time it was called Atranum. Afterwards, everyone passed through here: Etruscans, Greeks, Normans, Swabians, French and Spanish, attracted by its position as a vantage point over the sea, along the valley of the river Dragone with the high, impregnable mountains behind it. The landscape has always been the same, and the view is one of the most evocative on the Coast. Take a leisurely stroll through narrow alleyways, courtyards and walkways protected by arches, along the ups and downs of steps that all converge on the sea. This is enough to explore the places most steeped in history. Leave your car behind, and if you feel like a scenic walk, you could walk straight from Amalfi. There is peace in this natural hollow of the Amalfi Coast, protected from noise and traffic. A coffee in the piazzetta Head towards Piazza Umberto I, better known as the piazzetta, and sit down for an espresso coffee in this welcoming spot, looking out towards the sea since it was created as a mooring for boats on stormy days. Visit the Church of San Salvatore de' Bireto overlooking the square: it was first built in the year 1000, although today it is in pure Neoclassical style. It was here that the investiture of the Doges of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi took place. Marvel at the number of small churches in the village, peek inside to admire their paintings and statues. Make sure not to miss the Church of the Carmine and the Church of S. Michele Fuori le Mura, among others. At the trattoria Even the eating establishments here in Atrani exude the scent of history, and a gastronomic stop provides an authentic taste experience in an inspiring setting. Take a seat at a table in the open air, under umbrellas or in the discreet glow of the lighting in the evening. Some taverns set up tables under arches used for sheltering fishermen and storing nets. If you are in the area in July, head to Atrani on the 22nd. On this date, celebrations are held in honour of Santa Maria Maddalena and the typical celebratory dish is the Sarchiapone: cannelloni made from cylinders of long pumpkins, stuffed with minced meat, fried and bathed in tomato sauce. Atrani also has a long tradition in the production of fresh pasta. Come and enjoy it here, flavoured with the bounties of the sea. And at all hours, including the end of the meal, try the pasticciotto. The people of Campania claim that the best is that of Atrani: a crumbly pastry, which in the local version contains a filling of custard and sour cherries. A dip in the bay The sheer cliffs surround a small beach of sand mixed with fine gravel, partly free and partly with bathing facilities, divided in half by the Dragone river. The sea is clear and calm, somewhere between green and blue. Take a swim and look up for a glimpse of the village with its small colourful houses and churches; beyond, you can see the verdant, towering mountain. And head back there in the evening to watch the fishermen set off to fish for lampreys.
Nature
Sandy beach cove with colorful boats on Amalfi Coast, Cetara

Cetara

Cetara: experience the evocative atmosphere of a seafront village The spectacle of the Marina with the lampara boats leaving in the late evening, a quiet beach bordered by the old defence tower, pastel-coloured houses and churches clinging to the hillside. On the Amalfi Coast, Cetara preserves intact the most authentic dimension of a fishing village. The perfect destination for beach lovers, who will also find it on their palate: the renowned local speciality is in fact the Colatura di Alici (translated as Anchovy Syrup) the result of a long tradition. Beaches in a row right in the village The Spiaggia della Marina beach is right here in the village, protected by the Vicereale Tower, an Angevin bastion of defence. It has a sandy and a pebbly part and is surrounded by small pink and yellow houses, as well as small café and restaurant for a pleasant stopover. Facing south-east, the beach is always sun-drenched, perfect for an off-season dive on mild autumn and spring days. At the pebble beach Spiaggia del Porto, special currents make the water crystal clear. Climb aboard a gozzo (local boat type) to visit the Spiaggia della Collata, with access only by sea, a small sheltered bay shrouded in the scents of Mediterranean vegetation; then continue, still by boat, to the tiny Spiaggia degli Innamorati, reserved to a few chosen ones. Still sailing, but this time towards the east coast, you can reach the Spiaggia della Campana (Bell Beach) with a view of two stacks. For those looking for comfort, on the Lannio Beach and the Old Tuoro Beach you can sit on soft sand. Corso Garibaldi: the central street of the village After a long day on the beach it is worth heading towards Corso Garibaldi, the central street of Cetara where the main historical monuments parade, including the Church of San Pietro Apostolo with its dome decorated with a polychromatic majolica covering. The promenade is all the more enchanting at sunset, when the sun dips into the water on the horizon: it is the right time for an aperitif in one of the many bars with outdoor tables from which to admire the spectacle of colours at dusk. Or simply rest on one of the terraces overlooking the sea, because even the dozens of benches are works of fine craftsmanship: they are made by master ceramists, with compositions depicting scenes of life and fishing. Corso Garibaldi is also the ideal place for shopping from boutiques to ceramics ateliers to gastronomic specialities. The famous Colatura di Alici di Cetara The sea is rich in fish in Cetara and the name of town itself derives from Cetaria, meaning 'tuna fishery'. Today, boats go out to the deep waters of the Mediterranean for bluefin tuna, while the tradition of fishing for anchovies is still flourishing. The procedure for a good Colatura di Alici has very ancient roots, traceable back to the time of the Romans who made a similar product called Garum. The Cistercian monks from Amalfi then enhanced the technique: the fish are salted and after curing, the liquid is filtered, a craft method that is still used today. Colatura di Alici has an intense flavour, which you can enjoy by ordering a spaghetti or linguine in the village restaurants. Divine in their simplicity, with no need for seasoning other than a sprinkling of parsley and a good extra virgin olive oil. Trekking among the lemon groves Cetara is a strategic hub for treks of various difficulties in the hills. A one-hour walk along a beautiful path through olive groves, vineyards and lemon orchards on terraces leads to Punta Fuenti. On the contrary, for the braver ones, it takes almost 7 hours to walk the paths from Abbazia di Cava to Iaconti: you will find yourself on a ridge of Mount Falerio before heading into lush forests. If you are looking for an excursion out of town, move to nearby Maiori: this is where the Via dei Limoni (Lemon Path) starts, the ancient road that in 9 kilometres connects Maiori to Minori, both delightful villages. Farmers used to pass through here and even today, during the harvesting period between spring and summer, you can see them at work and intent on transporting citrus fruits by mule. The cultivation of lemons on the Amalfi Coast is a true art.
Nature
Pictorial coast Amalfitana. Campania region of Italy

Positano

A holiday in Positano, enjoying the enchantment of the Amalfi Coast Positano stands to the west of the fascinating natural terrace on the Tyrrhenian Sea that is the Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the typical Mediterranean landscape of southern Italy reigns supreme, with white houses sloping down towards the sea and splendid beaches, alleys offering all the simple pleasures of life: the leisurely pace, refined boutiques, cafés and restaurants, and places that are custodians of history. Discovering the beaches The Marina Grande beach is Positano's most famous beach. It is 400 metres of sandy shore set in the inlet, where you may find yourself face to face with passing VIPs. The view and the facilities available encourage lounging, but once you have left your sunbed, it is worth heading to the pier to sail to the Li Galli Archipelago: three small islands in a marine reserve surrounded by crystal-clear waters, that legend has it are populated by mermaids. You can get there by dinghy or small boat. An intimate cove embraces Fornillo Beach, made of pebbles and gravel; it's reachable on foot and a snorkelling paradise because of its magnificent seabed. Continuing on foot, you can spend some quiet time on the Spiaggia di Laurito (Laurito Beach), where the cliffs are sheer, and nature is untouched. The jagged coastline of the Gulf of Positano is full of ravines on the turquoise sea. Climb aboard a gozzo, the traditional boats, and ask to be taken to discover little beaches in secret coves, including La Porta, San Pietro Laurito and Arienzo. Many hotels also offer stretches of private beaches. A divine trek A hike in the Monti Lattari, immersed in nature. The Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods), was for many years the only link between the towns on the Amalfi Coast, before the main road was built. As you walk along, the Coast opens up to you from above and the view sweeps as far as Capri on clear days. You pass through forests of holm oaks and quench your thirst at the numerous springs; you will find vertiginous caves and precipices, the remains of cave villages, and the limestone spire Il Pistillo.   You arrive at the village of Nocelle, where you can freshen up before resuming your trek. For the more experienced and adventurous, a branch of the Sentiero degli Dei leads via an almost endless flight of steps to Cala Arienzo, usually reached by sea with little effort. A holiday resort dear to the Romans Roman aristocrats came to Positano and built extraordinary holiday residences here. There is much evidence of their fondness for this place, blessed with an enchanting landscape and a mild climate all year round, with the sea breeze alleviating the summer heat. Find artefacts of the ancient holidaymakers at the Roman Archaeological Museum - MAR, which houses a part of a 1st century AD villa, buried by the eruption of Vesuvius and brought to the surface after years of archaeological excavations. Positano Style Positano is a vertical village, perched on a rock overlooking the sea. Wander through the village's many stairways and alleyways, and don't miss a visit to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, a stone's throw from Marina Grande Beach. Once a Benedictine monastery, later abandoned and renovated over the centuries, today it offers the architectural spectacle of a pale stone façade and a yellow, green and blue majolica dome. Inside, look out for the precious Byzantine icon. Majolica has a long tradition in Positano, and in the village ateliers you can shop for ceramic objects, from plates to trinkets. There are many boutiques selling elegant clothes if you want to follow the “Positano style”: soft, fluttering dresses, kaftans, light colours, shirts and trousers in linen and lightweight fabrics, and the ubiquitous swimwear for him and for her. Over the centuries, Positano has seen a flourishing tradition of weaving, now reinterpreted in a contemporary, holiday mood. The style is completed with flip-flop shoes, also customised by the craftsmen. After the sea, the delights of the village Positano is also luxury and high society, and the whole area offers plenty of clubs, restaurants and bars. For evening entertainment, you can choose whether to stay up high in the venues clinging to the rock, in favour of the view, or in the beach clubs, where an aperitif at sunset is also a pleasant experience. Take a seat on the terrace of a restaurant. Some good choices are mussel soup or a lemon-scented seafood salad, linguine with scampi and fried fish. Among the cheeses of the Monti Lattari, fior di latte, the same cheese that you will find on pizza, is the most popular. And if your gastronomic interests do not end there, find out how to join a themed tour: olive oil tours among the olive groves, and wine cellars amidst the vineyards.
Region

Postcard-perfect sea and dizzying flavours

The sea of the Amalfi Coast and the Faraglioni of Capri, the joie de vivre of Naples, the lemon and orange blossom gardens of Sorrento, the magnificence of the Royal Palace of Caserta, the charm of the past that returns in Paestum, Herculaneum, Pompeii: are you ready to be seduced by Campania?

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